Cherrydown Vets launches Pet Health Club

pet health club

pet health clubCherrydown Vets is launching its own Pet Health Club to provide a convenient and affordable way for clients to protect their pets against diseases and discomfort.

The service launches on Wednesday, October 18 and entitles clients to preferential rates and discounts on their pet’s care.

Anyone who joins will be able to spread their regular pet care costs with a fixed monthly fee which guarantees a saving of 10 per cent on all regular services.

Other benefits include a full vaccination course, annual boosters, tick and flea control, six-month health checks and microchipping for your pet.

Prices start at £12 per month for cats and £12.99 per month for dogs, with minimum savings ranging between £78 and £92 for the first year of the plan.

Emma Blackman, practice manager at Cherrydown’s Basildon branch, said: “Our new Pet Health Club will help spread costs for the things you know you are going to need while also reducing the cost of the unexpected.

“The plan also provides reassurance for owners whose pets have limited insurance policies, and help them make their money go further.

“Everything is covered right down to nail clipping – you can just pop in for a mini-pedicure!

“The service has something to offer for all of our clients and we’d be delighted to discuss its benefits, either in person or over the phone.”

You can register your interest for the Pet Health Club at www.cherrydownvets.co.uk/pet-care/pet-health-club, or by calling 01268 533 636.

How to keep your pet cool this summer

cat on sunny day

keep dogs cool in summerIf you have a Dog……….

Dogs are not very good at keeping themselves cool so they will need your help. Ensure they have plenty of water, whether they are in the house or out on a walk. If you are at home keep the water in a heavy bowl so it can’t be easily knocked over

Don’t keep your dog in a car. You may think it’s ok to do this as you are leaving the window open, however, it’s not enough to keep the car cool. According to the RSPCA if it’s 22C outside, within an hour it can be 47C inside the car. Dogs die this way every year, please don’t let this happen to your dog.

Take your dog for a walk at cooler times of the day. Go in the morning and the evening instead.

If your dog is outside all day make sure there is plenty of shade as well as lots of water.

Regularly groom your dog. If you have a long haired breed, have the hair trimmed to help keep it cool.

Do you know the signs of heatstroke? Here is a checklist of what to look out for. Heavy panting, very red gums/tongue, excessive salivation, a rapid pulse, lack of co-ordination, lethargy, reluctance or inability to rise after collapsing, vomiting, diarrhoea and in extreme cases loss of consciousness.  If you see your dog displaying any of these symptoms ensure you take immediate action. Try to cool your dog down gradually as heatstroke can be fatal.  Douse your dog in cool water (not cold or iced water) and let it drink small amounts of cool water (again not cold or iced) until their breathing is more normal.  Then take your dog to the vets to be checked to make sure everything is ok.

cat on sunny dayIf you have a cat……….

Cats love the warm weather and are a lot better at keeping themselves cool. However, if it is excessively hot here are a few things you can do.

If you have a cat that likes to go outside, try not to let it out between 10am and 3pm so it avoids the hottest times of the day. If they are indoor cats keep blinds shut and curtains closed as this helps to keep the house cool.

Make sure your cat has access to plenty of water.

If you notice your cat is sleeping more it’s probably nothing to worry about. Cats are sensible and will nap more on a hot dayrather than spend their time running around. Maybe they are the more intelligent than dogs?

Pay attention to your cat’s feet. Cats and dogs have sweat glands in their paws. If you notice your cat is leaving wet paw prints it will need to have more water to replenish its fluids. You could try cooling your cat down by dipping its paws in water but it may not be pleased with you doing that.

If you see your cat panting, it doesn’t automatically mean it has heatstroke. Cats do pant but they rarely do it. However, if you think your cat is panting excessively check for other signs of heatstroke and take immediate action.

keep your rabbit coolIf you have a small furry pet……….

As always, make sure they have access to lots of clean water

Make sure you keep them clean.  When the weather is hot it results in more flies and maggots. This can lead to flystrike. This can fatally affect rabbits.

Keep your pet groomed and if it’s a long haired breed, have it trimmed to help keep it cool.

Keep hutches in the shade. It may mean you have to move it around during the day of you don’t have a permanently shaded spot.  Make sure the hutch is off the ground as this improves ventilation and can help to keep it cool.

Give small animals food that contains lots of water such as celery and apple. This will help keep them hydrated.

Spraying a water mist on larger animals such as rabbits is a good way to keep them cool.  Remember not to spray them in the face as they will not like it.

There are many other ways to keep your pet cool and a lot of them are common sense. A good way to look at it is if you are uncomfortable because of the heat there is a good chance your pet will be too.  If you need any extra information and advice please contact us  and we will be happy to have a chat.

Dental Disease

teeth2

 

Many dog owners do not realise that dental disease, particularly gum disease, is common in their pets. Surveys show that after the age of three years, about seven out of ten pets have some kind of dental disorder.   If there is a problem and it is left untreated it could cause irreversible damage to teeth, gums and jawbone.  Dog owners should have a dental routine in place for their dog to help towards a happy and healthy life. We will list a few hints and tips on keeping your dog’s mouth in good order

Use a good quality toothbrush.  It doesn’t have to be a special one.  Brushes for humans will do.  If you have a medium to large dog use an adult brush. If you have a small to medium size dog, a child’s toothbrush will be sufficient.  You can get puppy toothbrushes from your vet as they can be used on miniature and toy dogs.  If you are just starting to brush your dog’s teeth it may be wise to buy finger brushes.  This will help get  your dog used to the sensation of having its teeth brushed.

You will need to regularly brush your dog’s teeth.  This will prevent gum disease, the build-up of tarter and will help to remove plaque.  It will also keep your dog’s breath fresh.  If your dog isn’t happy about having this done, keep at it.  They will soon accept it as part of their routine.

Make sure you use pet toothpaste.  These are flavoured so dogs will like them and will be more likely to let you brush their teeth.  Also, dogs will be swallowing the paste so they formulated not to cause any harm.  You can get toothpaste and other dental products from your vet.

Give your dog something to chew.  A strong, rubber chew toy or rawhide strips can help towards keeping teeth clean and healthy.

Making changes to your dog’s diet can help.  Replacing soft foods with dry or fibrous materials will slow down the build-up of plaque.  The extra chewing stimulates the production of saliva which has natural antibiotics.  There are special diets available to help keep your pets teeth clean.  Speak to your vet who will be able to advise you on this.

Did you know dogs will chew things with enough force to break their teeth? Regularly check your dog’s mouth for any problems.  Things to look out for which might indicate an issue are

Chipped or broken teeth
Bad breath
Red, swollen or bleeding gums
Check the gum line fits around the teeth.

If there is a more serious dental issue look out for

Problems eating – advanced dental issues may be causing your dog some pain and discomfort
If your dog is in pain they may be shaking their head or pawing at their mouth.
You dog may dribble excessively

If you believe there is a problem take your dog to the vet immediately.  If your dog has a dental problem and is in pain the vet may take an x-ray to see if there are any deep abscesses.  If your dog has any loose teeth they may be removed as they cannot be treated.  The vet may even prescribe antibiotics to combat signs of infection before doing any dental work.

If you regularly clean your dog’s teeth there will be less chance of any dental problems occurring. However, it is advisable to get your pets teeth checked at least once a year with the vet.

If you have any questions regarding this subject please call us at the clinic and someone will be happy to discuss this with you.  Alternatively, you can leave a comment on our Facebook page.

Getting a kitten – Part 1

 Did you know the cat is now the most popular domestic pet in the UK? Cats and kittens make great pets but they are a big responsibility.  Cats will need lots of love and attention and, more importantly, they will need an owner who will be committed to them for the rest of their life – often 15 to 16 years or more.

If you are thinking of getting a kitten there are a few things you should look out for:

Kittens should be 8 weeks old when they leave their mother. Look for a kitten that is inquisitive, doesn’t shy away from people and is ready to play. Have a look at the mother as many of the kittens future traits may be in her. Is she a lap cat, is she happy to be handled?

A kitten should be nicely rounded.  Don’t get a kitten that looks skinny. Also, if it has a bloated stomach there is a good chance it could already have worms.

Kittens should have bright sparkly eyes.  If it has runny eyes, is sneezing or coughing then it would be better to avoid getting that kitten.

Check the kitten for fleas.  Lots of kittens will have them but they can be dealt with quite easily. Ask your vet about the best treatments for fleas.  If the kitten is really fluffy there is a good chance it is going to have long hair.  Invest in a good brush as the cat may need daily grooming to prevent hair balls.

Check the ears.  If there are brown or dark grey deposits in the ears it could indicate there are ear mites present.  Again, speak to your vet about how the problem can be treated.

Look for kittens with a nice temperament. Wild kittens will be difficult to tame. Get a kitten that will happily come to you and likes to be picked up and stroked.

So you have now picked your kitten and will be bringing it home.  In part 2 we will talk about introducing the kitten to your home, litter training and health checks.

Do please remember that there are lots of lovely cats available from rescue centres that are not necessarily kittens, but that will make wonderful pets. Their ages vary but there are often younger ones. Getting a slightly older cat has benefits as they are less likely to do things such as run up your curtains and otherwise cause less mess and/or damage.

If you have any questions regarding this subject please feel free to contact us at the clinic or leave a message on our Facebook page

Boss and the Snake Bite Scare

Boss Wood is a lovely friendly two and a half year old Staffie. Helen Wood and her partner Max look after Boss while their son Gary is at work. Yesterday they took him out for a walk near the fishing lake at Lee Chapel Lane in Basildon. They were walking along a path near the lake with Boss off the lead when suddenly they saw an adder curled up on the path with Boss approaching it. In a split second the snake lunged at Boss but they were initially unaware that Boss had been bitten. They both had mobile phones and took photos of the snake as it disappeared off into undergrowth.

 Snake


After a few minutes Boss became woozy and they realised he had been bitten. Max picked Boss up & ran a mile or so with him in his arms while Helen ran ahead and got the car. They rushed Boss into us at Cherrydown Vets where our vet Kim Woods saw him immediately. Boss was a bit wobbly and his foot was beginning to swell. Because they had pictures of the snake we were able to confirm it was an adder bite rather than an allergic reaction which can present with similar signs. Boss was put on a drip & given steroids to reduce the inflammation as well as an antihistamine injection to prevent an allergic reaction to the venom. He was also given antibiotics and pain relief to make him more comfortable. Despite this treatment the leg continued to swell above the elbow, so it was decided to give him anti-venom. Anti-venom itself can often make an animal very ill by inducing an adverse reaction so it is only used if an adder bite can be confirmed & the animal does not respond to the initial treatment.

Boss responded well and after staying with us overnight he was sent home on antibiotics. We will however need to see him regularly over the next few days as adder bites can cause tissue necrosis (cell death) in the immediate area surrounding the bite, which may require further antibiotics.

Because Boss was brought in to us so quickly it will reduce the chance of any long term effects from the bite. Adder bites are painful, often cause swelling but in rare instances if left untreated, can result in clotting defects, kidney failure and even death. With the start of the warmer weather dog walkers need to keep an eye out for snakes in the undergrowth or basking on paths. We usually see a few dogs each year that are bitten by snakes and we have a blog on our website for further information and advice

What to do if your dog is bitten by a snake – Click HERE

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Keyhole Surgery Spays

We like to keep up with advances in treatment and be able to offer clients alternatives where possible. We have just invested in equipment to enable us to do keyhole spays  (laparoscopic spays) and Jonathan will now be doing these on a Friday. We are one of the only vets in the area to be able to offer this treatment and we think many of you will consider it a benefit to your pet. 

What is a lapaoscopic spay and why are we offering it?

To do this spay involves making two small skin incisions in the midline of the abdomen. These incisions are far smaller than in a conventional spay. The laparoscope allows the internal structures to be visualised with magnification. Bleeding is reduced to a minimum, as the blood vessels are sealed with electrocautrey. There is also minimal handling of other surrounding tissues resulting in less trauma. The ovaries are removed via the very small incisions which are closed without the need for external sutures.

The benefits of laparoscopic spays  are less trauma, faster recovery times, less post-operative pain, small skin wounds with no sutures and less risk of wound breakdown complications and infections. As there are no stitches, the dreaded buster collar is not usually required post operation and normal activity is usually resumed after 3-4 days. A larger area has to be clipped on the abdomen and sides but most dogs aren’t too fashion conscious and accept this is a small price to pay for the benefits.

On rare occasions the procedure cannot be performed using the laparoscope so the procedure then reverts to a conventional spay. Similarly if complications do occur, the surgery can revert to a conventional spay if required.

This is a substantial investment as the equipment itself is very expensive, for example a lightbulb for the kit is £700. We have also had to invest in an Anprolene Steriliser as specialised sterilising of the equipment is required to avoid infection. As an introductory offer the cost of a keyhole spay will remain the same as a normal spay, however the price will be increased in the near future to take account of the additional costs involved. 

We will continue to offer conventional spays so that our clients are able make a choice for their pet. If you have any questions then do please call us at the clinic, leave a comment on our Facebook page or send in a question via email to enquiries@cherrydownvets.co.uk

Bull Mastiffs

The Bull Mastiff is a big, strong, intelligent dog that was originally bred from an English Mastiff and an Old English Bulldog in the 19th Century. Gamekeepers used them on large estates to help keep them free of poachers.

Even though Bull Mastiffs are big dogs they are sensitive, loving and can make good family pets because they are very loyal and protective.  They are great with children and will watch over them as well as being an excellent guardian of the home.  Bull Mastiffs are generally quiet and rarely bark, however, if they sense a possible threat they will make a lot of noise and will raise the alarm.  They are very territorial so will make natural guard dogs and they will protect you with their life.

When you read about Bull Mastiffs they sound wonderful. They are laid back, unless there is danger, faithful, eager to please, fearless and have unconditional love for people. However, there is one BIG messy downside………………SLOBBER!

These dogs are well known for their drool and slobber so you will need to have an old towel or rag in every room of the house. Also, have a few spare ones near the front door so you can give them to visitors who enter your home.  They do not discriminate when it comes to sharing the slobber.

Due to their size and stubborn nature, Bull Mastiffs need training from early on before they get too big. They need to be trained not to pull on the lead.  Also, it is good to socialise it with other dogs at an early age so it develops into a reliable and well behaved dog.

bull mastiff dog

Health Issues

As with most dogs there are certain types of hereditary problems associated with this breed such as Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Entropion, Hypothyroidism, Lymphoma Cancer, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Arthritis and Bloat.

For more information on some of these issues we have other blogs on our website and also our health advice pages. The links are below.  Also, as well as our main Facebook page we have a sister page which relates to our Orthopaedic Services and covers issues such as Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia.  Click here and it will take you directly to the page. Please click the “like” button so you can keep up to date with information about the subject.

If you have any questions about this please give us a call at the clinic where someone will be able to help you. Alternatively, you can leave a question on our Facebook page

Blog Links

Hyp Dysplasia Part 1 – Click HERE

Hyp Dysplasia Part 2 – Click HERE

Elbow Dysplasia – Click HERE

Cruciate Ligament Rupture – Click HERE

Arthritis – Click HERE

Bloat – Click HERE

Dogs and Car Travel

If you own a dog then you may, at some point, have to put him/her in a car. Whether it’s a trip to the vets or a longer journey there are several things to consider when it comes to the safety and comfort of your best friend.

Harnesses, Guards and Crates

We wear seatbelts and we make sure our kids are safely secured too. The same should apply to your dog.  They might be well behaved and sit quietly on the back seat. However, if you need to brake suddenly or if you bump your car, they could be thrown forward and get injured.  In a more serious bumb they could become a missile that will shoot forward and injure any of the people in the front of the car.

When deciding how to secure your dog, there are several choices available:

Dog Guard – This is a mesh which can be fitted between the boot and the back seat. This stops the dog from climbing over the seats. However, it doesn’t offer as much protection as your dog will not be protected from impact with the rear or side windows.  They need to be sturdy and properly secured in place to be effective as protection in case of accidents.

Crate – If you are going to put your dog in a crate you need to ensure, firstly, your car is big enough to hold it and secondly, the crate is big enough for your dog.  You need to make sure your dog is able to stand at full height and there is room for them to turn around and lie down in a normal position.  Make sure the dog can see out of the container and there is enough ventilation.  Also, by adding bedding to the crate it will help prevent the dog from slipping around.

Harness – If your dog is too big for a crate or you would prefer another option, then it’s worth considering a padded car harness that secures your dog by linking in with the seat belt system. Make sure to measure your dog to make sure you get the right size.  We have read these are not entirely safe as the straps can dig into the dog’s skin during an accident.

By choosing one of these options, it will ensure your pet has a safer journey. However, there are still other things to consider if you are going on a long journey:

Before putting the dog into the car, make sure they have exercised beforehand. This will help them settle as they will have burned off some excess energy.

Some dogs get motion sickness/car sick. If you know you are going on a long journey, don’t feed them before you travel. Leave it a couple of hours. Also, don’t give them food whilst travelling.  Keep them calm and give them a new toy to play with so it takes their mind off being in the car. If this is a problem then we do have medications that can assist with travel sickness and ease their stress.

Make sure you have plenty of water and take regular stops so your dog can stretch its legs.

Don’t let your dog stick its head out of the window.  It could result in injury. We have had dogs at the clinic that have done this and have had particles or small stones flicked up by tyres  that shoot into their eyes.  Also, some dogs may try to jump out.

Very Importantly, do not leave your dog in the car, especially on a hot day.  Whilst in the car, ensure the dog is not in direct sunlight.  Leaving a window open a crack is not sufficient as the inside of the car can get very hot and every year dogs die unnecessarily because they have overheated in cars.

These are a few hints and tips which we hope you will find useful. If you want more information, please call us at the clinic or leave a message on our Facebook page and someone will get back to you.

Owning a Rabbit – Part 2

Food and Diet

If you believe what you see in a Bugs Bunny cartoon rabbits only eat carrots. This is a complete myth.  A rabbit’s diet is far more complex.  If you broke it down it would look like this:

80% Grass and Hay – Rabbits digestive systems must have grass and/or hay in order to function properly.  It’s also important they chew grass and hay as it prevents teeth overgrowth. If you use various types of hay it can encourage different chewing patterns and is better for dental health.  One of the main health issues commonly seen by vets is dental disease.  This is directly linked to the inappropriate diets rabbits have. For example too much rabbit muesli (which does not wear their teeth down) and not enough grass/hay. 

If you spot any of the following symptoms it’s possible your rabbit may have dental problems

A wet chin

Weight loss

Drooling

Going off their food

Eye discharge

A dirty bottom

If a rabbit has a sore mouth it will find grooming/licking too painful so it won’t be able to clean itself properly. Also, because of abnormal tooth roots it can affect their eyes.  If you see any of the above symptoms take your rabbit to see the vet. 

15% Vegetables – If possible, try to give your rabbit various greens each day. Below is a list of some greens that are safe for rabbits to eat and some that are not. It’s not a complete list but it gives you a general idea. Your vet can always give you more advice if you need it. 

Safe Greens                                                                               Unsafe Greens

Asparagus

Amaryllis

Basil

Bindweed

Broccoli

Bracken

Brussels Sprouts

Elder Poppies

Cabbage

Foxglove

Carrots (only feed occasionally – they are high in sugar. The leafy tops are OK)

Laburnum
Yew

Cauliflower

Lily-of-the-valley

Celeriac

Lupin

Celery leaves

Most evergreens

Chard

Oak leaves

Chicory

Privet

Courgette

Ragwort

Dock

Rhubarb leaves

Parsley

Endive

Green beans

Kale

Watercress

Radicchio

Radish tops

Rocket

Salad peppers

Spinach

4.5% Rabbit pellets – It’s fine to feed your rabbit pellets but grass and hay are far more important to their diet and well being.  If you are going to feed it pellets don’t keep topping up their bowl as they may not eat enough of the food they really need.

0.5% Fruit and sugary veg – This should only be fed in very small amounts as an occasional treat due to the high sugar content. Rabbits can digest these types of food really well and over feeding can cause obesity. If a rabbit becomes obese they won’t be able to groom themselves properly. It can also lead to a ‘sticky bum’ and makes a rabbit more prone to fly-strike in the summer months.  Cherrydown Vets run weight clinics so if you think your rabbit is overweight, our nurses can help and advise you on diet and exercise.

Another important part of their diet is their own poo. Rabbits produce two sorts of pellets. The first sort is hard and dry and what you will commonly see in the hutch or garden. The other sort is dark, soft, moist and smelly.  These are called “caecotrophs” and rabbits eat them, usually straight from their behind.  If you see this it’s completely normal. They do this to ensure they get all of the goodness from their high-fibre food.

Finally, make sure water is always available. It doesn’t matter whether you use a bottle or a bowl. Just make sure it’s kept clean.

If you have any questions about anything mentioned in this blog or you would like more advice on feeding your rabbit please call us at the clinic or leave a message on our Facebook page

The Siberian Husky

 The Siberian Husky (also known as the Arctic Husky) is a beautiful looking dog and they have lovely piercing eyes.  Huskies are thought to originate from Eastern Siberia where they were used to pull sleds over long distances by the Chukchi. They were exported to Alaska during the Nome Gold Rush and later spread into Canada and America. Once there they were used as sled dogs but over the years they became more popular as pets.

We have seen quite a few huskies at Cherrydown and know how popular they are as pets.  If properly trained they can be very good with people, children and other dogs. Huskies are commonly known for their friendliness toward people.

However, one thing that does upset us is there are many people who take on huskies without doing the proper research and end up dumping them or putting them in homes because they can’t handle them anymore.

In this blog we will go through a few things which are useful to know before getting a husky.

A Husky will shed A LOT!  You will have hair EVERYWHERE! We have heard from long term Husky owners that they shed from September to February and March to August. So basically, they will shed hair all year round.  Also Huskies will “blow their coat”. This means their hair will literally come out in chunks.  You are going to have to make sure you have Henry the Hoover on high alert when that happens. 

Huskies need A LOT of exercise as they extremely energetic and athletic. These dogs were bred to run for long distances and pull sleds so they will most likely leave you tired while they still have lots of energy.  However, use some common sense in the height of summer. These dogs are very hairy so if it’s really hot outside don’t let them over do it. Huskies are very intelligent and will need things to keep them occupied or entertained. If they are bored they can become very unhappy. They can also be very destructive if they are bored and left alone. You could come home and find your best shoes or the kids toys in tatters. Be prepared to give a husky a lot of mental and physical stimulation.

Huskies are very stubborn so can be harder to train than other dogs. That’s not to say it’s impossible but they will need a bit of extra work to get them to do as they are told.

cute huskies 2

These dogs have been bred to run and pull so if you are walking one on a lead you will definitely need a good arm to keep them from tugging you. These dogs are strong.  You will need a lot of patience to train them to behave on a lead.  As long as you are firm and consistent about the no-pulling rule and reward good behaviour you should get good results.  However this is not a guarantee.  Unless a husky has had good training from an early age, letting one of the lead is not a good idea unless it’s in an enclosed area. These dogs are natural hunters so if they are off the leash and spot a small animal they may be off without considering its surroundings and will ignore your commands. This could result to them being lost or injured.

Huskies like to dig. If you have a well kept garden you might find it full of holes. Be aware that Huskies might end up digging a hole under the fence and escaping.

Huskies have sensitive stomachs and can be fussy eaters. Speak to your vet for advice on feeding them.

Huskies are generally healthy dogs and could live to a ripe old age. However, as with a lot of breeds there are specific problems.  Many of the problems with Huskies are genetic such as seizures and eye disorders (such as cataracts, corneal dystrophy, canine glaucoma and progressive retinal atrophy) and congenital laryngeal paralysis. Hyp Dysplasia isn’t common with this breed. However, as with all medium to large breeds, it can occur. If you want to know more about Hyp Dysplasia, the links to our blogs on the subject can be found at following links:

 

Hyp Dysplasia Part one – Click HERE

Hyp Dysplasia Part two – Click HERE

 

As with all pets, the more you put in, the more you will get out of it. Huskies can be hard work but the rewards will be great.

If you have any questions about this or any about any of our blogs please call us at the clinic or leave a message on our Facebook page.

Cute Huskies 3